New Orleans’ Opera Presto: 2 Days To Write, Compose, Rehearse, Perform

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — You could call it instant opera: A New Orleans nonprofit will create and perform a pair of opera scenes with only two days to get from page to stage.

         New Fangled Opera calls it Opera Presto — in musical terms, "Opera really, really, fast."

         Composers Monica Pearce and Philip Seward and writers Chloe Gilligan and Traix Heiden learned Thursday who's working with whom, said Chris Burton, a composer and conductor who founded New Fangled Opera in 2012 with his wife, singer Shelley Burton.

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         Composers and librettists had the afternoon and evening to come up with a scene less than 15 minutes long and songs to show and tell what's happening.

         Then singers Christina Paz, Laura Booras, Sarah Aragon, Molly Dahlberg, Cara Williams, Daniel Foltz-Morrison and Xavier Joseph have to learn the songs and Directors Alexander Trice and Shelley Burton have to work out the staging in time for the performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the University of New Orleans. Burton said they get their scores by 9 a.m. Friday.

         Artists came from all over for the project, paying their own travel costs. Singers get $100 and a discount on housing. Composers, directors and librettists who asked for it were provided housing.

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Sunni LeBeouf

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         Pearce is from Toronto and Seward from Chicago. Heiden is studying music composition at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, and Gilligan is a student at the University of Kansas, where she's majoring in tuba performance with a minor in creative writing.

         Paz, Williams and Booras are from New Orleans, though Paz is working as assistant music director at a church in Austin, Texas. Dahlberg's from Baton Rouge, Aragon is studying voice at Indiana University in Bloomington, Foltz-Morrison is from Little Rock, Arkansas; and Joseph is from Dallas. Trice is originally from Oxfordshire, England, but moved to Detroit in 2003.

         For more information

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